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Scientists Discover An Exoplanet That Might Be Spock’s Home

Credit: University of Florida/Don Davis

The planets in our solar system have fascinated scientists for ages. Pluto, a small ‘proto-planet’, may have once been green. Jupiter, the biggest planet in our system, has 63 ‘confirmed moons and there might be more. And in the vast expanse of our galaxy? Are there any other planets out there like our own?

Scientists have been trying for years to find planets like our own. As populations soar, it seems there is less and less room. It is only natural to look to the stars for a new home, and a newly discovered planet renews the hope we will find a new place for humans to live.

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An exoplanet was recently discovered by a group of astronomers from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Using a telescope in Arizona to discover the planet, the group found that it orbited the parent star every 42 days. With a lighter mass and lower temperatures, the parent star 40 Eridani or HD 26965, was determined to be the same age as our own sun.

Fans of the Star Trek franchise will recall that 40 Eridani was the home star of planet Vulcan, home of the logical-thinking Spock.

While the proximity of the planet to its star may be too much, the gassy Earth-like atmosphere shows promise. Other planets with breathable atmospheres might dot the system. It would be a welcome discovery as our technology catches up with our ambition to sail the stars.

Epsilon Eridani is considered a triple star system. Three stars orbit around the ‘center mass’ of their system, with two of them forming a binary system while the third orbits some distance away from the other two.

It is interesting to think of all the life that could exist past the sky we see. Will we find the home we are dreaming of? Is there a chance we’ll encounter an alien race like the Vulcans? Only time will tell.

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